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The Ramabai dissociation 

Import of the Annual ^Meeting 


ZMarcb u, i8g^. 




The Ramabai Association 

HELD MARCH 11, 189? 







Rev. E. W. DONALD, D.D. Rev. EDWARD E. HALE, D.D. 

Board of Trustees. 

Hon. ALEXANDER H. RICE, Chairman. 



Mr. CLEMENT W. ANDREWS, Secretary. 

Mr. E. HAYWARD FERRY, 222 Boylston Street, Boston, Mass 

Executive Committee. 

Mrs. J. W. ANDREWS, Chairman, 36 Rutland Square, Boston. 



Miss S. G. ANDREWS. Mrs. E. E. MARFAN. 


Recording Secretary. 
Miss ANNIE G. KELLY, Channing Street, Cambridge. 

Corresponding Secretary. 
Miss A. P. GRANGER, Canandaigua, N.Y. 

Principal of Sharada Sadan. 


The Ramabai Association held its Seventh Annual Meet- 
ing in the vestry of the New Old South Church in Boston 
on the nth of March, 1895. The President, Rev. Lyman 
Abbott, D.D., opened the meeting with prayer, the audience 
joining in the Lord's Prayer at the close. 

The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved. 
The President then spoke as follows : — 

I am sure that we shall all agree that Christianity stands 
for something definite. Probably we should disagree a 
little if we undertook to give the definition. For my own 
part, I am sure that it stands for more than any ritual, any 
creed, or any organized church. I am sure that it means 
more of truth than any of our creeds contain, that it means 
more of the spirit of reverence and devotion than any or 
all of our rituals contain, and that it means more of activity 
and light than any of our ecclesiastical organizations can 
possibly incarnate. But, whatever else it may stand for, it 
stands at least for the idea of redemption, for the truth 
and the fact of redemption. It stands for that truth that 
God himself loves his children, and is redeeming them, 
lifting them up, cleansing, purifying, developing, educating, 
saving them. It stands for the truth that God is some- 
thing more than a righteous person, who demands righteous- 
ness, — that was Mosaism, — but that he is also a redeeming 
person, inspiring the hearts of his children with his own 
tenderness, patience, courage, and love. I will not say 
that is Christianity, as though I were assuming to define 

it ; but, at least, Christianity is that. That God is in his 
world ; that wherever there is sin and suffering and trouble 
there God comes that he may wipe away the tears from 
his children's eyes, that he may cleanse them of their 
iniquity, that he may lift them out of their servitude and 
their ignorance and their weakness, that he may make of 
every community a real kingdom of God, that he may make 
the family the family of God, that he may make men pure, 
that he may make women free from the bondage by which 
they have been bound, that he may take children in his 
arms and bless them as Christ took them in his arms and 
blessed them when he was upon earth ; that he is still in 
the world to-day as he was in Jesus Christ eighteen hundred 
years ago, and doing the same work in the world in the 
same spirit, — I am sure we shall all agree that Christianity 
at least means this. And, believing this, I am sure we shall 
all wish to let others know of our faith. We shall wish to 
let those who as yet have no idea of God at all, or who have 
the idea of God as an impassive and unknown abstraction, 
or the idea of God as hateful and vindictive, as a great 
many people have, or the idea of God as a mere lawgiver 
who exacts righteousness without conferring upon people 
the power to come up to the ideals and standards which he 
puts before them, — I am sure we shall wish to let such 
people know something of the faith which we have in a re- 
deeming God, of the hope which he has inspired in our own 
hearts, and of the love which he has awakened in us for 
him, for one another, and for all mankind as his children. 

There are two ways in which we may do this. We may 
do this by telling them that God is a redeeming God, or we 
may show them this by getting something of this love in our 
own hearts and carrying it to them. And, if we indeed be- 
lieve that "actions speak louder than words," we shall not 
disesteem the first method, but we shall more highly esteem 
the second. We shall think that we are really doing more 
to proclaim God a redeeming God by having redeeming love 


in our own hearts and showing it in our own lives, than we 
do by preaching it in pulpits, or writing it in tracts or 
religious newspapers. 

Perhaps you will not think I mean to speak slightly either 
of pulpits or of religious newspapers, since I happen to be 
connected with both ; but after all, my friends, all that can 
be said in the pulpit, and in the religious newspaper, is in- 
significant to that which we can show by our deeds and our 
lives. And that, it seems to me, Ramabai is doing. She 
is carrying to India the message that God is a redeeming 
God, not by what she is saying to her pupils, but by this : 
she is going as a Christian who has faith in God as a re- 
deeming God ; she is avowing herself a Christian who has 
this Christian faith in a Christian's God ; and then she is 
carrying out that Christianity by the life she is living, — by 
a life that is without pride, without vain-glory, without hope 
of earthly reward of any kind. She is laying down her life 
for her own people in her own land. You remember what 
John says : " Herein is love, that he laid down his life for 
us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." 
The best way, after all, to preach Christ is to lay down our 
lives for some one else ; and this is what Ramabai is doing. 
There has been a great deal of discussion hither and yon as 
to her creed, possibly as to her ritual, certainly as to her 
right to have family prayers in her school. But far more 
important than creed or ritual or church organization is a 
life laid down for others ; and that is what Ramabai is 
doing. She is laying down her life for her people ; and so 
she is telling the people of India what a Christian is, it 
seems to me, a great deal better than we could possibly do 
it through definitions, — a great deal better. 

The other day, in New York City, a poor Russian Jewess 
was confined. The doctor from the College Settlement at- 
tended her, and, when the baby was born, there were no 
clothes for the little one : the mother was literally without 
anything. So the doctor ran round to the College Settle- 

merit and got some little garments, all ready for such an 
occasion as this, and brought them back, and dressed the 
babe, and put it in the mother's arms. And the mother 
held the babe in her arms a moment, and then looked up to 
the doctor, and said, " What kind Jews sent me this ? " And 
the doctor said, " No Jews sent you these : some Christians 
sent them." And she opened her eyes and lay still a 
moment and thought, and then the tears gathered in them 
and, looking through the glistening tears, she said, " I didn't 
know that Christians could be kind." Now there was no 
possible way of preaching Christ to that Jewish mother like 
that one little deed of carrying from Christians the baby- 
clothes for the new-born child. It was a great deal better 
than a tract or a sermon. And this is what Ramabai is 
doing in her far-off home, and what she is permitting us to 
help her to do, — to tell the people of her race, not that 
Christians are kind only, but that God is kind, and that 
wherever there is sin and suffering and ignorance there 
God, through the children whom he has inspired with the 
love which he has enkindled, is brooding hope and faith 
and love, and inspiring self-sacrificing service in the hearts 
of his children. It seems to me that it is a great privilege 
and a great glory to be permitted to be represented in India 
by such a Christian heart and life as Ramabai's. 

I should rather speak of Ramabai and her work to a dif- 
ferent audience : I should rather speak to people who know 
it less than you do. But, after all, you certainly will not 
expect me to tell you about it ; for this Ramabai movement 
was born and cradled in Boston, and you have followed it 
closely, and you understand it well. I have only tried to 
interpret my own feeling, and so perhaps to interpret yours, 
in these simple words. Ramabai is doing a greater service 
in India than if she were preaching the gospel, because she 
is living the gospel; and the best way to preach it is to 
live it. 

The report of the Corresponding Secretary was then read 
by Miss A. P. Granger. 


Last year seventy-five circles were reported as auxiliary 
to the central Association ; and, though I have been unable 
to karn anything of four small Western circles, I hope the 
number remains the same. In the majority the interest 
continues unabated, while the Treasurer's report will show, 
as did his last, the receipt of various small sums from 
classes in Sunday-schools, bands of King's Daughters, etc., 
which shows that knowledge of the work is spreading. 
Mrs. Hopson, head of the Virginia Auxiliary, sends word 
that their annual pledge of $150 will soon be in the hands 
of the Treasurer, and explains with deep regret how unusual 
cares have delayed its collection ; while Mrs. G. N. Dana, 
of Boston, tells of $174 received from friends and clusters 
for Ramabai's Kindergarten Department. 

But, in spite of this continued interest in the work, the 
Treasurer's receipts have been about $3,000 less than those 
of the previous year. Annual pledges from thirteen of the 
circles have not been paid. In several cases we know that 
the local treasurers have money in hand to forward, and 
presume they delayed sending it in the hope that, by wait- 
ing, the sums might be increased. Owing to the prevalent 
financial depression, the Treasurer of the Association felt it 
wiser to omit sending out in. February the usual requests 
for the payment of unfulfilled pledges, which is doubtless 
another reason why the receipts are so small. We will 
hope that next year's report will contain two payments from 
these circles. 

We must never forget that the growth of Ramabai's 
school in India makes any reduction in the funds for its 
support a very serious misfortune ; also that already death 


has removed very many who, at the outset, gave most gen- 
erously to the work, either individually or through circles. 
This has been peculiarly the case during the past year, and 
in the far West the frequent change of residence seems, in 
some cases, a hopeless obstacle to sustained interest. Will 
it not be possible to fill our ranks with new recruits ? 

Nor can we forget that the period for which support was 
pledged is drawing to a close. Certainly, with most of us, 
the interest now is not less than when first aroused by 
Ramabai, seven and eight years ago. Confidence in her 
absolute integrity and in her ability have been confirmed ; 
and the great work, philanthropic and educational, already 
accomplished by the Association through her, must be a joy 
and satisfaction to all her friends and supporters. Shall we 
be willing to drop the work when our pledge is fulfilled ? 
Shall we not rather, in such way as shall seem best, strive 
to secure to it a certain income for the future, in order that 
the beneficent influence of the Sharada Sadana may continue 
and extend as the years go on ? We will soon hear from 
Mrs. Andrews what Ramabai's hopes are in regard to its 
future support. 


Corresponding Secretary. 
Boston, March n, 1895. 

The report of the Treasurer, Mr. E. Hayward Ferry, was 
read and accepted. 


For Year ending Feb. 28, 1&95. 


Annual subscriptions (including life member- 
ship fees), $3,703.28 

Contributions to General Fund, 200.21 

Contributions to Building Fund, . . . ... . 114.00 

Scholarships, 1,000.00 $5,017.49 

Interest on current accounts, $ 2 3- 2 7 

Income (scholarships), 262.93 286.20 

Total Receipts, $5*303-69 


Salaries and school expenses, $6,500.00 

Annual meeting, March 11, 1894 (6,000 reports), 228.26 

Cables, 72.57 

Stationery, postage, printing, etc., 78.75 

Magazines, 5.98 

Rent Safe Deposit Box (one year), .... 10.00 

Total Expenditures, $6,895.56 


Life memberships (last 3 years), $1,137.00 

General Fund, 9,315.11 

Scholarships, $9,900.00 

Income, i j°59-55 10,959.55 



Real Estate in Poona (cost $21,002.54), . . . $11,336.48 

Balance (cash) : — 

Provident Institution for Savings, Boston, $4,325.01 
Suffolk Savings Bank, Boston, .... 2,933.74 
Bay State Trust Co., Boston, 2,816.43 10,075.18 


Total cash on hand, March 1, 1894, .... $11,667.05 

March 1, 1895, .... 10,075.18 

Decrease, . $1,591.87 

Total Receipts of the Association, March 1, 1895: — 

Subscriptions, . $72,243.16 

Interest, 3,250.10 $75,493.26 

Total Expenditures, 65,418.08 



I give and bequeath to the Ramabai Association, incor- 
porated under the laws of Massachusetts, the sum of 

Dollars, to be applied, under the direc- 
tion of said Corporation, for the purpose of assisting in the 
education of child-widows in India. The receipt of the 
President or Treasurer shall be a sufficient discharge to my 
executor for the same. 

1 1 




Berea, Ky., Y. P. S. C. E., . . 


Mrs. Dana's, . . . 


Plymouth Church, 

Bryn Mawr College, .... 

California Association, . . . 

Camden, "King's Daughters' 
Steadfast Circle," .... 

Camden, "Willing Workers," 


" Granger Place School, 

Central City, Neb., .... 

Chelten Hills, 


Cleveland, . . . . . . . 

Cloverdale, Cal , 


Concord, N.H., 


Constantinople, American Col- 
lege for Girls, 

Delhi, N.Y., Miss Gilchrist's 
S. S. Class, 

Denver, Col., 

Evanston, 111., 

Fairmount, N.Y., S. School, . 

Farmington, Miss Porter's 


Fremont, Neb., 

Geneva, N.Y., 

Germantown, First, .... 
" Second, . . . 

Gilbertsville, N.Y., .... 




(< Girls' Classical School, 

Ithaca, Cornell University, 

Seventh Year. 

C 3 C 





37-7 5 






53 00 











































Jacksonville, 111., 

Jamestown, N.Y., 

Kansas City, 



London, Ont, 

Los Angeles, 


" "Warren Memorial 

Presbyterian Society, . . . 


Marengo, 111., W. C. T. U., . 
Mills College, Cal., Tolman 



Montesano, Wash., .... 



New Haven, 

New Hope, Pa., 

New York, 

" " Alice Spence- 

Prentice Memorial," . . . 
New York, Mi«,s Merrill's, 

" Missionary Society, 

Church of the Strangers, 

Niagara Falls, 

Normal, 111., 

Northampton, Smith College, 


Oakland, Cal., 

Ogontz, Pa., Ogontz School, 



Pasadena, Cal., 

Pawtucket, R.I., 

Petaluma, Cal., 


" Josee, .... 

" Manorama, . . 

" Sahaya, . . . 

Sevbnth Year. 

3 J J) 

q 3 H 

























1. 00 






1. 00 















r, 19250 







Pine Bush, N.Y., 

Plainfield, N J., 

Plainville, Conn., 

Portland, Oregon, 


Quincy, 111., 

Riverside, Cal., W. C. T. U., . 

Roselle, N.J., 

Saco, Me., 

San Francisco, Miss Hamlin's, 

San Jose, Cal., 

Santa Barbara, Cal 

Santa Rosa, Cal., . . . . 

Sherwood, N.Y., 

Sioux City, 


Springfield, Mass., . . . . 
Stamford, ..... 

St. Louis, 

Tacoma, Wash., 




Virginia Association, . . . 
Warren, 111., Sunday School, 


Wilmington, Del., . . . . 

Seventh Year. 

3 J 1) 


$11. CO 




100 00 












27 15 






67 00 


















E. & O. E. 


Treasurer Ramabai Association. 


The following subscriptions were received after the ac- 
counts of the seventh year had been closed, and will be 
credited in the report of the current year : — 

New York, "Alice Spence-Prentice Memorial " Circle, $100.00 

Montclair, N.J., Circle, 10.00 

Hartford, Conn., " 3.00 

Fremont, Neb., " 1.00 

Stamford, Conn., " 1 18.31 

Philadelphia, Manorama Circle, 183.0c 


Dr. Abbott. — I am sure that we wish that we' might 
have Ramabai with us herself to-day. We have the next 
best thing to that,— a letter from Ramabai, which will now 
be read. 

The letter which follows was then read by Miss Granger : 

To the President, Officers, and Members of the 
Ramabai Association : 

My honored Frie?ids, — It is with sincere joy and thankful- 
ness that I greet you at the beginning of this seventh year 
of our existence as an organized institution. We have 
much to rejoice over, and we praise and thank our heavenly 
Father for what he has done for us. The past year has 
been one full of events, which, though they cannot all be 
mentioned in an open letter, have had much to do with the 
development of our school, and the advancement of its 
interests. The visit of our most esteemed friend, Mrs. 
Andrews, to this school, and her stay among us for over 
seven months, may be put down as the chief of these events. 
Her arrival here and residence with us have been the 
source of continued joy to us ; and, though parting with her 
was hard for us, we are sincerely glad to know that she has 
reached home safely and is happy with her friends. I have 


already thanked you for sending her to India. Her tender 
sympathy and wise counsels were much needed by us to 
recover from the shock received in the year before last. 
She has done much to help us here, and will do inestimable 
good to our cause with the store of knowledge of the actual 
state of things, and the precious experience which she has 
carried with her ; and we are most grateful to her for her 
labor of love in our behalf. 

The school work here has been carried on in the past 
year as it had been in other years, the same rules and order 
of discipline being upheld in every respect. Though the 
last and greatest of all storms that raged against our school 
in 1893 did us a great deal of harm, — we have not yet re- 
covered from its consequences, — it is a matter of no small 
satisfaction that the Sharada Sadan is growing day by day, 
and has almost regained its old number of pupils and its 
prestige as a useful institution. Notwithstanding all jthe 
changes of place, the managements of several boards, and 
the yearly storms and continuous opposition it has had to 
face during the six years of its existence, the Sharada 
Sadan has, — by the mercy and help of God,- — from smallest 
beginning, grown to be a fairly large institution, and now 
aspires to attain the dignity of a high school. Still, this is 
not what it glories in. Its chief glory and greatest satisfac- 
tion are in being the means of helping and uplifting scores 
of our down-trodden sisters, and making them happy and 
hopeful. We daily thank the heavenly Father and you, our 
generous and sympathetic friends, for having helped us to 
do all that has been done in this school. We have had our 
trials and troubles in the past year as ever before ; but we 
are happy in this work which God has been pleased to give 
us to do, and are trying to be faithful to our calling. 

The question, " What will become of this school after ten 
years ? " has been claiming much of my thought and special 
care; but in this respect, too, friends among you have gener- 
ously come to my aid by taking steps to put the Sharada 


Sadan on a permanent footing in providing for its future 
support. I praise and thank the good Father for putting it 
into your hearts to be so very thoughtful of our future, and 
am very grateful to others for their kindness in this special 

The Sharada Sadan renders its most grateful thanks to 
the retired President of our Association for all his kindness 
and tender love which he still entertains toward it, and 
greets his worthy successor with joy and hopeful expecta- 
tion to find as much love from him as it received from his 
predecessor. We consider ourselves most fortunate in hav- 
ing two such worthy gentlemen for our Presidents. Under 
one of them the Sharada Sadan came into existence; and 
now, under the presidency of the other, it hopes to be 
established on a permanent footing. We, the workers and 
inmates of the Sharada Sadan, wish long life and continued 
happiness to both of our venerable Presidents, and request 
them to convey our best thanks and joyful greetings to all 
our friends, the officers and members of our Association. 
With sincere gratitude and all good wishes, believe me, dear 
friends, Faithfully yours, 


Dr. Abbott. — I wish that we might in the course of this 
meeting appoint a committee to extend to Ramabai the 
greetings of the meeting in response to this letter. We 
shall learn, I am sure, something more of Ramabai's work 
than her modesty allows her to tell us herself from the re- 
port of the chairman of the Executive Committee, which 
will be presented now by Mrs. Andrews. 


To the Members of the Ramabai Association : 

Poona, the beautiful city to which four years ago Pandita 
Ramabai removed the Sharada Sadana, is the summer cap- 
ital of the Bombay Presidency. The railway journey from 
Bombay, a distance of one hundred and twenty miles, with 
its gradual ascent into the Western Ghauts, is one of de- 
lightful surprise, so changing is its scenery from the lovely 
to the grand, from the grand to the wild, from the wild to 
pictures of rare beauty that linger in the memory like fair 
dreams ; and over all that indescribable loveliness of sky 
and cloud that belongs to India alone. 

Situated upon a broad plateau among these hills, Poona 
has a purer atmosphere, a more delightful climate, than her 
sister city. It is therefore a favorite resort for the Bombay 
residents during the months of the monsoon, June, July, and 
August, when the mountains are uninhabitable, and the 
moist heat of the larger cities almost unbearable. It has 
a population of about one hundred and fifty thousand, one- 
third of whom are Brahman. Indeed, it is called the 
stronghold of Brahmanism. The European and native 
quarters are quite separate. The beautiful gardens, the 
handsome government buildings, the gay compounds, and 
picturesque bungalows of the one contrast strongly with 
the closely packed condition of the other. 

The native part is situated on the sacred river Mula, 
which here unites with the Muta, thus affording facilities 
for ablutions, purifications, and cremations. 

The first drive through some parts of the native portion 
is sufficient to make one speechless and sleepless. Narrow 


streets crowded with bullock carts, naked boys and girls, 
scantily clad men, and lepers with distorted limbs, some 
without hands, some without feet, some minus both hands 
and feet, — a sickening sight. Huts or hovels crowded with 
human beings, by the joint family system several genera- 
tions living under one roof, which roof often covers but two 
or three rooms, sometimes but one. Hideous idols at the 
street corners, senseless stones marked as the dwelling- 
places of gods, upon which are laid the offerings of the wor- 
shippers. Here, there, everywhere, temples large and 
small, containing images of Siva, Vishnu, Durga, and others, 
including the disgusting monkey god. A short, beautiful 
walk or drive brings one to the temple-crowned hill, Pavati. 
A broad flight of winding steps leads to the top, from which 
is a charming view of the city and the country around, en- 
circled by the distant hills. Here is the famous temple in 
which the god Siva sits enthroned, represented by his 
image in silver, while on his knees are the golden images of 
his wife Pavati, and Ganesh, his son. On a festival morn- 
ing scores of young men from the schools and college may 
be seen running up the steps to give their offerings to the 
gods, and to the life-size image of the sacred bull within a 
shrine, upon whose neck are flung garlands of flowers, — 
flowers and other offerings at his feet. A sadder sight yet 
is that of young boys, too young to know the meaning of it 
all, being made to prostrate themselves before the beast, 
and cast into the enclosure their little offerings. 

This is but a faint picture of fhe ignorance, the super- 
stition, idolatry, and consequent degradation pervading 
India. But there is a bright side to Poona, and there are 
many pleasing points of interest, in one of which you are 
especially interested. Not far from the railway station, just 
out of the city, is an extensive compound with a bungalow 
and several buildings, one of which, a handsome two-storied 
stone building, has been recently erected. This compound 
is surrounded by a stone wall of regulation height, above 


which is a trellis closely interwoven with luxuriant vines, to 
screen the inmates from the curious gaze of the passer-by. 
As you approach the arched gateway, the familiar name, 
Sharada Sadana, is seen in English and Maratha char- 
acters. The gate opens, and an attendant in white turban 
and loose flowing garment salutes you with a graceful 
salaam, so graceful, so dignified, that you are involuntarily 
inclined to return the salutation in like manner. As you 
enter, and walk up the broad pathway, on either side you 
see arches, arbors, and bowers covered with vines of honey- 
suckle, morning-glory, and passion-flower in full bloom. 
The compound is bright with blossoming trees, with thou- 
sands of flowering plants, and plants with many-hued 
leaves. The air is sweet with the fragrance of the rose, 
the lily, and the jasmine. The hum of soft voices, a low 
merry laugh, attract attention to the garden. In the paths 
young girls are walking with their teachers or by them- 
selves, talking, reading, or studying. Young girls are 
among the plants and flowers, weeding and pruning or 
looking after their own little plats. For this beautiful com- 
pound is not merely for the delight of the senses : it is a 
work yard and an education for the children. 

A familiar white-robed figure, with stone, plant, or blossom 
in hand, is the centre of a group of young girls in bright 
sarees, who, with glistening eyes and glowing faces, are 
listening to a lesson in mineralogy or botany. It is a 
lovely sight upon which you would fain linger ; but Rama- 
bai, discovering your approach, comes forward with glad- 
ness in her eyes and joyful words on her lips, to welcome 
you to her home. You enter the bungalow, and feel that 
it is indeed a home. On the walls of the reception-room 
are engravings of American scenery and photographs of 
American friends. The open piano, the table covered with 
books and pictures, stands with curios collected from vari- 
ous countries, chairs and sofas, give to the room an air of 
refinement and comfort, like that of English and American 


homes. An inexpensive but lovely curtain of Indian work- 
manship separates this room from the library, from the open 
door of which vines and flowers are seen in rich profusion. 
Other rooms and other buildings were made familiar to you 
in the report for 1893. Thirteen months have passed since 
the records of that eventful year were sent to you from the 
Sharada Sadana, the most eventful year in the school's 
history, — a year in which the school was never more pros- 
perous, in which friends were never more friendly, and 
enemies more quiet. Suddenly an unexpected storm burst 
upon it, sweeping away friends, advisers, and one-half of 
the children of Ramabai's home and heart. Such a storm 
could not pass without leaving the school in a somewhat 
demoralized condition and Ramabai sick in body and sick 
at heart. 

It was in this condition that your representative found it 
at the close of the year 1893, and reported for the annual 
meeting March it, 1894. With scarcely five weeks at her 
command to investigate the cause of these disturbances, the 
cruel charges made against Ramabai, to examine records, 
interview teachers and pupils, parents, guardians, and com- 
mittee, friends and the unfriendly, it were strange indeed if 
no mistakes were made. 

But the late Advisory Board of Poona, in a recent letter, 
thanking you for the acknowledgments at the last annual 
meeting of the services they had rendered to the Sharada 
Sadana, take exceptions to certain statements of the report 
of the Executive Committee then read, as being made with- 
out foundation. We are very glad thus publicly to rectify 
mistakes, and give authority for statements called in ques- 

In the reply of the Executive Committee to the letters of 
resignation from the Advisory Board the statement that a 
daughter of one of the members had received instruction at 
the Sadana was incorrect. When the mistake was discov- 
ered, regret was expressed, and apology made with which 


the member then seemed perfectly satisfied. We should be 
sorry to do the least injustice to a gentleman who had 
kindly audited the accounts of the school, who for several 
years had free access to it and every opportunity to know 
whether Ramabai were true or false to her people, who had 
"broken bread" with her and the pupils, and within a few 
months of the trouble had written of Ramabai and the 
school in terms of unqualified praise. Therefore, we repeat 
that never did a daughter of his receive instruction, even for 
an hour, in the Sharada Sadana. 

Again, the statement that " the seven sages " signed a 
pledge to marry widows, etc., should read " pledged them- 
selves." I was afterwards told that the pledge was verbal, 
not written. It was a story often repeated, but the informa- 
tion may be as incorrect as that upon which the cruel 
charges against Ramabai were made. 

The authorities for the statement that at one time the 
Poona High School was in danger of losing the government 
grant were the people of Poona and the native papers of 
November and December, 1893, whose statements have 
been corroborated by a letter from Rukhmabai, who writes 
thus : " When the Bombay government threatened to stop 
the grant to the Poona High School, Sir William Wedder- 
burn and Sir William Hunter got up a deputation to the 
chief secretary of India, requesting him to continue the help 
from the government as before. Several Indian men and 
women were asked to be present. Miss V. and I were the 
only Indian women who attended. ... At the end Sir Will- 
iam Wedderburn announced that I would say a few words 
on the subject. I could not say much on the spur of the 
moment ; but what I did say was (I think) that, as Hindus 
are adverse to women's education, especially higher educa- 
tion, the government ought not to withdraw its support 
from the High School." It seems sufficient to say that 
the authority for other so-called " unfounded statements " 
is quite as strong and reliable as that quoted. 


The number of pupils withdrawn from the school during 
and after the storm was greater than given in the report. 
Thirty-one were withdrawn, of whom Ramabai's register 
gives the following record : " Twenty-six were widows, five 
were non- widows; ten widows and two non-widows were 
placed in the Poona High School ; eight widows and one 
non-widow returned to the Sharada Sadana; one widow re- 
married ; one went to the Jamsetji Jijibhoy Hospital to be 
trained as a nurse ; four widows kept at home in a miser- 
able condition ; one went to her destruction ; one widow 
and two non-widows kept at home in a tolerably good 

These records give one but a faint idea of the fierceness 
of the attack made upon the school, and its sad results, — 
an attack as undeserved as it was cruel. To again enter 
into its details would serve no good purpose ; but it might 
be well to say here that, after a thorough examination of 
charges and facts, after a six months' daily intercourse with 
Ramabai, teachers, and pupils, when the slightest deviation 
from the established rules could not escape notice, I can 
emphatically affirm that most of the charges were baseless 
fabrications, and the few that had at first some appearance 
of truth were easily explained to the satisfaction of those 
who listened with open ears and unprejudiced minds. 

Has the Sadana " ceased to be looked upon as a proper 
place for the education of the widows of the high-caste 
Hindus " ? During the months of my stay scarcely a day 
passed without one visitor or more to the school. Some 
were attracted by the notoriety the press had given to it ; 
their curiosity was changed into an interest. Some who 
had received circulars and letters of warning came to head- 
quarters for the truth, and were satisfied. Some wrote 
letters of sympathy and encouragement, expressing entire 
confidence in Ramabai's truthfulness and loyalty. Others 
returned their children or wards ; and others still said they 
would gladly do so, but could not because of the influence 


exerted over some members of the family by this or that 
individual, giving the names. 

When several young orthodox Hindus, visiting the Sa- 
dana, saw the Vedas and Bible side by side in the school 
library, when they were told that sometimes one and some- 
times the other was read at Ramabai's private prayers, when 
told who were and who were not admitted to those prayers, 
when they saw proofs of the strict observance of caste rules 
by those who were strict in their observance at home, they 
were pleased, amused, and not very complimentary in their 
remarks upon those who had created such a disturbance. 

An educated orthodox Hindu withdrew a widowed rela- 
tive from the Sadana, though she had neither attended 
prayers nor broken caste rules. After hearing the story of 
Ramabai's work and the policy of the school explained, he 
said that, so highly did he think of the practical education of 
the Sadana, the girl should be returned at once if he could 
be assured that not the slightest indirect influence for Chris- 
tianity would be exerted over her. He was reminded that 
the same influences were there two years ago when he 
placed her with confidence under Ramabai's care, which 
confidence was not misplaced. The widow was not re- 
turned ; and then followed a result far worse in the eyes 
of the strictly orthodox members of the household, — she 
remarried. But the climax was reached when the husband 
came to the Sadana to ask if his wife could be readmitted 
to continue her education, while he finished his medical 

Another orthodox Hindu, applying for admission for his 
wife, had been warned against the Sadana and advised 
to place her in another school. He had examined both 
schools, and preferred the Sadana, and had no fear of the 
proselytizing influences. This man had just braved public 
opinion by giving a widowed sister in marriage. The wife 
was admitted on condition that as soon as the Sadana had 
again its complement of widows she should be withdrawn, 

2 4 

or at once, if the Executive Committee did not approve of 
the admission. The husband, with a low, satisfied laugh, 
replied : "It will take a month for your letter to reach the 
committee, another month for their reply to reach you. My 
wife will get at least two months of good schooling ! " 

Thus the tide began to turn. Gradually old faces reap- 
peared, and new faces took the places of those who re- 
mained absent. 

The fifth anniversary of the opening of the Sharada 
Sadana was approaching. It was decided that it should be 
observed as usual, though Ramabai feared she scarcely 
knew what. Accordingly, the usual invitations were sent 
out, not knowing what the response might be. On the 
morning of March 12th the beautiful new school building 
was dedicated in a quiet, reverential manner. Rev. Mr. 
Small, of the Free Church of Scotland, conducted the ser- 
vices, which were participated in by ministers of five denom- 
inations. The late Rev. Mr. Sorabji, in a few earnest 
words, deplored the misunderstandings of both Christians 
and Hindus concerning the policy of the school, and proph- 
esied a success even greater than in the past, now that the 
misunderstandings were being removed. 

Mrs. Sorabji, the founder and principal of the Victoria 
High School, was moved to tears when speaking of her love 
for Ramabai and her sympathy with her in her cruel trials, 
which she endured with such courage and faith. The words 
of all the speakers were sympathetic and cheering. The 
services were closed with the responsive reading of the 
Twenty-third Psalm and benediction. 

At four o'clock in the afternoon phaetons, tongas, and 
bullock carts began to roll into the compound. Success 
was no longer doubtful. Soon after the appointed hour 
every seat in the hall was filled, several gentlemen standing. 
The room was bright with flowers ; and on the wall hung a 
large photograph of Dr. Hale, the President of the Associa- 
tion, over which was draped a beautiful American flag, the gift 


of Mrs. Ednah D. Cheney to Ramabai for the school. At 
Ramabai's request I took the chair as an officer of the 
Association. After a few words of welcome the exercises 
began, consisting of recitations, dialogues, and songs in 
Marathi and English. There was no failure, and but little 
prompting. Considering the crisis through which the 
school had passed, both Ramabai and the teachers had 
cause for congratulations. The girls from the oldest to the 
youngest were simple, modest, graceful, and perfectly un- 
conscious of the audience. Nor did the applause, freely 
given, distract their attention, though it must have been 
strangely novel to many of the pupils. At the close of the 
exercises the chairman gave a brief review of Ramabai's 
work, her phenomenal success in America, and the five years' 
history of the Sadana, emphasizing and explaining the policy 
of the school, neutrality and liberty. One could not desire 
an audience more attentive and interested. An invitation 
being given for brief speeches from the audience, several 
native gentlemen spoke warmly of Ramabai and the school. 
Some, though regretting that it was not conducted on 
strictly Hindu lines, were convinced that Ramabai had 
acted in good faith, and prophesied success. 

Dr. Atmaram Pandurang, one of the old Advisory Board 
of Bombay, hot as was the day, took the five hours' railway 
ride, to do honor to Ramabai and show his continued inter- 
est in her and the Sadana. His unexpected presence filled 
our cup of pleasure, and his kindly words made glad our 

At the close of the speeches the Chairman announced 
that ten and a half hours later, the difference between 
Poona and Boston time, the Ramabai Association would be 
holding its annual meeting, at which meeting the Sharada 
Sadana with all its inmates and friends would be tenderly 
remembered. The suggestion that a message of greeting, 
with the assurance that the Sharada Sadan still lived, and 
that its anniversary had been a great success, was greeted 


with hearty and unanimous approval. It was sent late in 
the evening, and received by you at noon of the same day ! 

A few graceful and happy words of thanks from Ramabai 
closed the exercises, which, though long, wearied no one. 
Each person, as he or she left the hall, was sprinkled with 
rose-water, presented with a bouquet and betel leaf filled 
with spices. The speakers were adorned with garlands and 
wreaths of jasmine, — a favorite blossom. This closed the 
day and the five years' existence of the Sharada Sadan. 
But an unhappy episode occurred in the evening that ex- 
cited pity and indignation, and may well be told here to 
show how cruelly wives as well as widows can be treated in 
India without any power of obtaining redress. A young 
woman, a mother of several children, and the daughter of 
the ayah at the school, was brought to her mother so 
beaten and bruised that she could not stand ; blood was 
coming from her mouth ; she could not speak. The hus- 
band had tried in vain with blows and kicks to make her 
swallow acid in which dirty copper pice had been soaked. 
His last brutal resort was to thrust a rough stick into her 
mouth, down her throat, and then pour in the acid. She 
was taken to the hospital, and for several days remained in 
a critical condition. 

Ramabai was now sorely in need of recreation and rest. 
During five years she had taken but one vacation. The 
late physical and mental strain had been almost beyond 
human endurance. She was persuaded to take the northern 
trip to cities and places she had not seen since her pilgrim- 
ages with her parents and brother. It was a rare privilege, 
one worth a journey to India, to visit these places with a 
learned, gifted native like Ramabai, who, though a Chris- 
tian, is a Hindu still, loving her people with all their faults, 
and, with a love unutterable, giving her life for her suffering 
sisters. Even in the midst of her sight-seeing the cry of 
the poor widow, however distant, found an echo in her ten- 
der heart. At Benares she received a letter giving an 


account of a deserted wife, — a condition even worse than 
that of widow, — and begging her to rescue the girl from the 
life before her. The place was hundreds of miles beyond 
Benares ; Ramabai's first impulse was to fly to the rescue, 
but prudence prevailed. She wrote for the girl to be 
brought to a certain station to meet us. A telegram an- 
swered that no one could be found to take charge of her, 
and ended with the word "mercy." Mr. Gadre, the clerk, 
who had accompanied us, was sent for her at once ; and in a 
week after our return she was safe in the shelter of the 
Sharada Sadan. Her story cannot be told here ; but, being 
found one day in tears and asked the cause, she replied that 
she now realized the fate from which she had so narrowly 
escaped. " One day more, and it would have been too late." 
Alas ! this is not an exceptional case. 

After our return Ramabai began to make preparations 
for the examination with a heavy heart. Because of the with- 
drawal of so many of her good scholars, she felt that the 
results would be far below those of last year ; but, of the 
forty-three examined, thirty-two were promoted. Being re- 
quested to examine some of the pupils in English, I was 
surprised and delighted with the results. The fluency, the 
expression and feeling with which a few read selections from 
English and American poets, were remarkable. The exami- 
nation did credit to the teachers as well as scholars. 

The first of May the holidays began. Some of the girls 
who had homes, and wished to visit them, were allowed to 
do so. The remainder were initiated into the mysteries of 
house-cleaning, renovating mattresses, renewing sheets, etc., 
and making pickles by the gallon. It was no holiday for 

June ioth the vacation ended, the school reopened, and the 
girls were delighted to return to their studies. It was then 
that the prostration which had kept me in India longer than 
was anticipated seemed almost providential. During these 
months of comparative leisure the information gained con- 


cerning the social evils v of the country and the home life of 
the people was great and reliable ; yet more, the daily inter- 
course with Ramabai, the teachers and pupils, revealed much 
that in a brief visit could not have been learned, or, if 
learned, not understood. 

If a school of fifty girls, coming from homes of comfort 
and plenty, surrounded from infancy with Christian in- 
fluences, with tender, loving care, whose sweet memories are 
of a mother's kiss and a mother's prayer, — if these require 
the constant, patient watchfulness of a teacher, causing her 
many an anxious hour, what shall be said of Ramabai and 
her pupils ? 

The influences with which they have been surrounded are 
the influences of ignorance, superstition, and idolatry. The 
word " home " has had no sweet meaning for them. Hun- 
ger and thirst instead of plenty have been their portion, 
blows have been their caresses, and curses the mother's 
prayer. Their natures have been warped, their hearts 
starved, their affections repressed. Undisciplined, unloved, 
unhappy, they have no memories of a joyous girlhood. 
Such are many who seek the shelter of the Sharada Sadana. 
The words that involuntarily spring to one's lips in attempt- 
ing to chide, soothe, and guide one of these girls in her 
wilful moods must not be spoken, lest they be construed 
into proselytizing intentions. How many anxious days and 
nights, how many tears, they have caused Ramabai, how 
many midnight prayers have gone up to the Father for these 
her children, the Father only knoweth. But her patience is 
inexhaustible, her love the unselfish, unbounded love of a 
true mother, and her courage is indomitable. To us the 
task of training these girls might well seem a hopeless 
one ; but Ramabai looks beneath the surface, she sees the 
rich germ in their natures and the great possibilities before 
them, and she puts her whole heart into the work of up- 
lifting them. Day and night she is their constant compan- 
ion, for she occupies the dormitory with them. Sitting in 


her room or walking in the garden, they are at her feet or 
by her side. And is it strange that they almost worship 
her ? She is opening a new world for them, — a world of 
beauties they had never before seen, of joys they had never 
before tasted, — and a new life of love, happiness, and use- 

There are now fifty-seven pupils in the Sharada Sadana, — 
forty-three widows, fourteen non-widows, — the number of 
widows steadily increasing, of non-widows as steadily de- 

Thirty-nine of the girls are Brahmans, eight Kshatriyas, 
ten Vaisyas, all high caste. The number of Anglo-vernac- 
ular standards in the school is six, to which the matricula- 
tion standard will be added in June. For this an experi- 
enced English teacher is engaged, and Ramabai hopes that 
another year several of the pupils will successfully pass the 
examination. To the higher standards Marathi and San- 
skrit are taught outside of the school hours. 

The kindergarten training class has charge of the kinder- 
garten children, of whom there are twenty-six, divided into 
three classes. The highest class is now studying the fifth 
gift. It was a beautiful sight when the little ones made a 
practical demonstration of one of their songs by literally 
sowing the seed in the ground. With what eagerness did 
they watch for the little green shoots ! and with what curios- 
ity did one of the little ones pull it up to see what was at the 
other end! Chandrabhabai, a pupil who has been in the 
school six years, will leave in June. She expects to open a 
private kindergarten school in the town in which she will 
reside with her husband. All the older pupils share in the 
household work. No outside servants are now employed 
except for the heavier work. 

The majority of these pupils, with more than ordinary 
intelligence, eager and quick to learn, will in time go out 
from the Sadan to take the places of teachers, nurses, 
physicians, lawyers it may be, and into homes of their own 


as companionable wives, intelligent mothers and thrifty- 
housekeepers. The highest ambition of many is to follow 
the example of their " dear Bai," and found other Sharada 
Sadanas for their unfortunate sisters. Freely as they have 
received, freely they have resolved to give. In their efforts 
they are helped by the teachers, Ramabai's faithful assist- 
ants, who love and honor her, and are patient and tender 
with her children, their sisters. 

Although this school has seen but six summers and 
winters, the influences at work within it are being felt in the 
community and in the country. In this quiet work Rama- 
bai and her loyal teachers are helping to solve the great 
social problems of India, in which woman is an important 
factor. The educated young Brahman is now seeking an 
educated wife, be she maiden or widow, rather than the 
ignorant, undisciplined girl of eight or eleven who can 
neither read nor write. A thousand Sharada Sadanas 
throughout India would be blessings to the country. 

Whatever may be said by Hindus visiting this country, 
the educated, thoughtful, honest Hindu at home, the re- 
former, the members of the Brahmo - Somaj, acknowledge 
and deplore the cruel condition of the child widow. 

They freely acknowledge that child marriage and child 
widowhood are two of the great obstacles to the progress 
of India, both socially and politically. A native paper just 
received gives the tragic story of a young high-caste widow, 
the daughter of a government official. A Brahman clerk, 
in his private employ, saw the girl, and loved her. The 
love was mutual, but they could not marry. They yielded 
to temptation ; and what followed ? One day the parents, 
who had been absent from home a few hours, returned to 
find the lifeless body of their child swinging from the roof 
of the house and that of the lover hanging from a tree. 
The editor asks who is responsible for this double death, 
and answers, " Of course, Hindu society, which says that a 
child widow shall not marry, though an old man of seventy 
can wreck the happiness of an innocent girl of eight." 


Soon after the recent storm at the Sadana Ramabai was 
asked to take into her home a child widow in whose sad 
fate the writer of the letter was interested. He had ob- 
tained the father's consent to her going to the school, 
when one of the circulars of warning against it was received 
by the authorities of the place. The father was warned. 
He followed the child, who had already started, and took 
her back to her bitter life. On the day that Ramabai was 
expecting to receive her she committed suicide. Who is 
responsible for her death ? 

The histories of many of the inmates of the Sharada 
Sadana are of a nature that cannot be revealed to the 
public. If Ramabai's private records could be allowed to 
speak, what tales of wanton cruelty, of fearful temptations, 
they would reveal ! I have the stories of three girls, taken 
from their own lips, whose experiences as young wives as 
well as widows would make your heart sicken. One, mar- 
ried at nine, was a widow at sixteen ; one, married at five, 
a widow at six ; another was married when nine months 
old, went to her husband's home at eight years of age, and 
then — the curtain must drop upon what followed. The 
wonder of it all is that there is any moral sense left upon 
which to build a higher life. To look into the sad eyes 
of some of the pupils, to see a head branded with the hot 
iron, to see cheeks covered with small scars from pinchings, 
the young, tender hand calloused by hard work, — all this 
is sad enough; but it is nothing compared with the awful 
temptations to which they have been exposed. 

Mr. B. M. Malabori, a Parsee and an earnest advocate 
of a higher life for Indian womanhood, has travelled 
through India, as did Ramabai, using his influence in favor 
of child wives and child widows. He calls the position of 
woman the darkest phase of the Indian problem, and asks 
this pertinent question : " What can you expect of a nation 
whose mothers have to live in perpetual infancy ? Married 
in their early teens, often to become widows before they are 


out of their teens, — can these be the mothers of heroes, 
patriots, and statesmen ? The marriage system of India 
is indeed her problem of problems, the mystery, the passion 
play of her daily life, stamping all her national concerns, 
arts, sciences, industries with its own mark of premature 
development, arrested growth, and early decay. A wife at 
ten, a widow at twelve (and in many* cases this age limit 
stands much lower), a mother at thirteen, — these are 
monstrosities in the face of which it is useless to think of 
a consistent, progressive public life." 

Repeatedly since my return have I been asked if it is 
true that Ramabai is now without influence in her country. 
Notwithstanding her loss of caste and change of faith, 
Ramabai is loved and honored to-day as but few women 
are loved and honored in that land. Were she to travel 
through India again, she would be most enthusiastically 
received. But she shrinks from notoriety, and is now 
seldom seen at public assemblies. Being persuaded to 
attend a lecture last spring, as she passed through the 
crowd of men to a seat near the stand, I heard, " Ramabai ! 
Ramabai ! " pass from lip to lip ; and then followed an en- 
thusiastic applause, while she was wholly unconscious of 
being the cause of it. 

Again, it is often asked if the missionaries are friendly 
to the school. Its methods, though very different from their 
own, are now understood and appreciated ; and no one 
more deeply deplores the false charges of proselytizing in- 
fluences, and no one believes more fully in Ramabai's 
loyalty to her people than missionaries of every denomina- 
tion. They may well sympathize with her, so unjust have 
been many charges made against them. There are mission- 
aries and missionaries, and my experience is somewhat 
limited ; but in that experience I saw no attempts to " force 
Christianity down the throats of the people," — a phrase that 
is fast losing its force. I heard no dogmas in sermon or 
prayer. There were no signs of self-indulgence, luxury, 


or extravagance. There was comfort, but with it self- 
denial. Vacation brought the needed recreation, but with 
it hard and earnest work ; and but few here know the 
meaning of the word self-sacrifice as they know it there. 
They are indeed worthy of honor, sympathy, and confi- 
dence, worthy of a liberal support. So many of you are 
interested in mission work in India that it would be ungen- 
erous and unjust in me to withhold this testimony in their 
behalf, founded as it is on observation and experience. 

Among Christians of all denominations Ramabai has 
warm and loyal friends. And it is with deep regret that 
we record the death of one who had been a long-time friend, 
ready to advise or assist, and who for a year or more had 
audited the school accounts. Rev. Mr. Sorabji, a Parsee 
by birth, early became a Christian, for which he suffered 
almost martyrdom. Our sympathy goes out to Mrs. Sorabji 
and family for the loss of a devoted husband and father, and 
to Ramabai who has lost a true friend. 

Do the English take no interest in the Sharada Sadana ? 
In the latter part of July the school was honored with a visit 
from Lord Harris, governor of Bombay Presidency. He 
was accompanied by his first councillor, Hon. Mr. Bird- 
wood, Mrs. Birdwood and son. As they passed through the 
various rooms in the bungalow, complimentary were the 
comments made upon the neatness and order that pervaded 
them. In the school-rooms the lessons and a few recita- 
tions in English were listened to with pleasure. Lord 
Harris then made a brief speech. His words were simple 
and touched the hearts of the pupils. After the visit Lord 
Harris and Mr. Birdwood recorded their satisfaction and 
their warm interest in the school. 

In a recent letter from Mrs. Bh-dwood she writes of Ra- 
mabai and the school : " My own views are the results of 
many visits, and whenever I went to the Sharada Sadana 
I always found everything in good order, Ramabai and her 
staff working steadily and honestly and without ostentation. 


The inmates of the home were happy and cheerful ; the 
discipline of the school struck me ; and one could not help 
feeling grateful that such an agency could have been raised 
through the efforts of kind friends far away for improving 
the lot and the future of these Hindu women. The institu- 
tion is of course in its infancy ; and we cannot yet say what 
further good it is destined to produce, but certainly good 
work has been done so far. Light and knowledge have been 
brought to many young lives which would have been dreary 
and untaught. A good effort of this kind cannot fail to 
bring forth good fruit in due time. I hope, therefore, friends 
in America will not lose heart or expect the institution to 
pay its way too soon, but continue to cast their bread on the 
waters, as they have done in the past, in faith and hope. I 
think we may hope before many years that Ramabai's own 
countrymen will realize the great advantage of the work she 
is doing in earnest, so quietly and unassumingly and in 
the face of constant opposition, which, however, every true 
cause may expect." 

Miss Manning, Hon. Secretary of the National Indian 
Association, who has long felt a warm interest in Ramabai, 
and has at various times sent sums of money to the treas- 
ury, writes a few words : " I consider Ramabai's work to be 
most important and valuable. She has not only roused at- 
tention by her work and writings to the position of Hindu 
widows, but she has practically shown how much can be 
done for such widows by kindly and patient training ; and 
thus she has benefited many individuals. She has set an 
example others may follow ; and, moreover, she has helped 
to meet one of the great educational wants of India by pre- 
paring women teachers for schools and families." 

The honor in which Professor Max Miiller holds Rama- 
bai has long been known, and will increase the interest 
in the letter he has so kindly written. The letter of Rev. 
Mr. Fox, principal of the Taylor High School in Poona, 
shows his intimate knowledge of the work of the Sharada 
Sadana. Lawyer Smith, who has practised in Poona a 
quarter of a century, knows whereof he speaks. Dr. 
Hanson, a native of Poona, who attends some of the pupils 
when ill, speaks from observation and experience. We 


regret that these letters cannot be given entire, as they 
touch upon some of the social questions of India. 

The letter from Mr. Maolankar, the husband of one of 
the pupils, speaks eloquently for itself. 

We are grateful for all the kind words so opportunely 
sent. Ramabai's American friends like to feel in touch 
with her English and Hindu friends. Our thanks are also 
due Mr. Kanitkar, who, acting as umpire between the 
Association and the contractor for the new school building, 
saved the Association nearly 700 rupees. His testimony 
that the compound had doubled in value under Ramabai's 
management was very gratifying. 

To the orthodox Hindus who have appreciated the 
broad basis upon which the school stands, who have 
not been disturbed by warning circulars and letters, but 
have continued to believe in Ramabai's loyalty to her 
pledges, and have recognized her accountability to her 
supporters alone for the management of the school and 
the expenditure of its funds, we extend our cordial greet- 
ings and thanks. 

During the past year a very serious question confronted 
Ramabai herself, — the question of the future support of the 
Sharada Sadana if, at the end of the ten years, many of the 
circles and friends should not renew their subscriptions. 
After much thought and study she presented a plan to the 
Trustees and Executive Committee for their consideration. 
She proposed the purchase of a large farm, — which was 
then offered at a reasonable price, — stocking it with mango 
and other fruit trees, raising vegetables, etc. (to cover the 
running expenses of the farm), which, with the necessary 
appliances, would cost $6,000, and at the end of five or six 
years would yield a handsome income. Would the Asso- 
ciation make the necessary appropriation? The Trustees, 
while admiring her .clear and business-like statements, 
doubted the possibility of the large returns she anticipated. 
Moreover, they had no power to use the funds of the Asso- 


ciation for such a purchase. Although she recognized the 
justice of the decision, the disappointment was keen ; but 
her faith did not waver. Such, however, was the confidence 
of some of her friends in her judgment, so strong their 
desire that her wish should be gratified and the experiment 
tried, that $3,850 were contributed at once by a few friends, 
and without any solicitations. Her experience before re- 
ceiving the cablegram of glad news is touching as told by 
her. She was returning one day from Bombay with a 
heavy heart and an intense longing for 10.000 rupees to 
secure the farm, when a voice from within seemed to rebuke 
her. Humbled, penitent, and reconciled, she was again 
herself in faith, hope, and courage, — a faith so great that 
she said to her friends : "We are to have a big farm some 
day. Our Father is very rich, and he is going to give it 
to us." In the early morning she was awakened, and a 
cablegram from America placed in her hand. Trembling 
with an unaccountable feeling of fear and hope, she first 
raised her heart in prayer to God that he would help her 
bear whatever the message might contain, then opened it, 
and lo ! the farm was hers ! 

Only $2,150 is now needed for the completion of her 
plan. Cannot this be raised at once, and let her feel 
assured of a permanent income for at least a partial sup- 
port of the school? It would make her heart glad. The 
supervision of this farm will be a rest for her physically 
and mentally, a change from the atmosphere in which she 
so constantly lives. The donors thus far have desired that 
the farm should belong to Ramabai. 

The following extracts from a letter from Mrs. Ballantine, 
wife of Dr. William Ballantine, of Rahouri, will be of inter- 
est here. She writes : — 

Ramabai has just spent a day with me, and I was more 
than ever impressed by her. Her childlike simplicity, her 
wisdom and good common sense, her originality, intense 
earnestness, and broad-mindedness were all shown in the 
few hours she was with us. 


She is interested now, as you know, in stocking a farm 
with fruit trees, etc., the income of which is to be for the 
support of the Sharada when the pledge support shall cease. 
You would have smiled to see her pacing off our orange 
orchard, calculating the number of trees to the acre and 
number of oranges to a tree, and to hear her questions con- 
cerning the care of them. She took seeds from our vege- 
table garden, and from me a lesson in budding roses. She 
visited my girls' school, and talked to the Christian women, 
showing a great insight into their needs and their failings. 

Ramabai is always charitable, always sweet ; and the in- 
fluence of her work in Poona is felt even in this out-of-the- 
way little town. Maturabai is not allowed by her brother 
to return to the school, but I am sure the girl can never 
forget what she learned with Ramabai. 

Our beloved Ramabai needs no defender among her 
American friends, so strong is her position here. Yet it 
may be wise, just at this time, for us to affirm that she is as 
worthy of our love and confidence as when she first touched 
our shores, and entered our homes and hearts. Generous 
to a fault with her own money, she is just to a farthing with 
funds intrusted to her care. Her word is still as good as 
a bond. No breath of scandal has sullied her fair reputa- 
tion. She has remained faithful to the memory of her brief 
period of wedded happiness ; and, if there is a home on 
earth where abide the three great eternities, Faith, Hope, 
and Love, it is the Sharada Sadana, the happy home of the 
high-caste child widows of India. 

J. W. Andrews, Chairman. 

For the Executive Committee. 
Boston, March nth, 1895. 

Dr. Abbott. — In some ways, doubtless, the storm which 
has been referred to seemed to us discouraging ; and yet, 
perhaps, it has been worth more than it cost. When you 
have on the one hand orthodox Christians insisting that re- 


ligious services shall be required, and on the other hand 
orthodox Brahmans insisting upon it that religious services 
shall be prohibited, it is not altogether a misfortune to have 
such an event occur as shall teach both the meaning of the 
words " religious liberty" ; to teach us all that there cannot 
be religion that is compelled, and that there cannot be relig- 
ion where there is prohibition of a spontaneous religious 
life, to teach us all that true religion grows only in the 
atmosphere of freedom. 

I shall take no time to introduce to you our honored 
speaker of this afternoon. She has already been introduced 
to you, as the daughter of one who was brought up in that 
most ancient faith, the Parsee religion, and early became 
a Christian at great self-sacrifice. She will, I am sure, be 
welcomed by us none the less because she comes from 
far-off India, and certainly ought not to be welcomed by us 
any the less because she comes as a Christian from far-away 
India, — Madame Sorabji-Cavalier. 


In travelling, a few months ago, in the beautiful South 
for the first time, I saw a flower, called the japonica, so 
beautiful in texture, so beautiful to the sight, that the first 
thought that came to me was — Ramabai ! I had never 
seen it before ; and it took me back again to Poona, to an 
afternoon when we stood side by side in her garden, and 
she said a few parting words to me, and we saw each other 
soul to soul. 

Once and again I have been asked in this country of 
yours to speak about India's women and the ideals of 
womanhood. "Give me," you say, "an ideal of woman- 
hood." You have your answer, — Ramabai. Give me an 
ideal of Hindu womanhood, — Ramabai. An ideal of 
Brahman womanhood, — Ramabai. An ideal of Christian 


womanhood, — Ramabai. Can you ask anything more ? 
Test her as she has been tested, try her as she has been 
tried. Can temptations touch her? I have known that 
they cannot. I speak from no hearsay, but because I have 
the privilege of calling her friend. You want somebody, 
you say, whom you can send out to India. Your hearts go 
out to those poor widows, though you cannot go yourselves. 
You have sent one who represents the highest ideal of the 
people, and you have done what you could. And can you 
pause or can you doubt, when you think of her as she 
stands in that home, the picture of which was so beautifully 
drawn for you in Mrs. Andrews's most pathetic and touch- 
ing speech ? Can you not see her now as she stands there, 
the centre figure, with all those little children — for they are 
so, as well as girls growing into womanhood — around her? 
You know that she is good, that she is virtuous. Is she 
only good and virtuous, and not educated? Have you seen 
her or heard her ? You know, then, what true education 
means. Is she educated only to a certain point, and has 
she no business capacity ? You have just heard of some- 
thing that she is going to do, — not because it is needed 
to-day, but because she is thinking of the future. Does 
not that show you that her business capacity is perfect? 
Where, then, is any doubt ? O beloved,— let me call you 
so, for all women are lovely to me, — remember that it is 
your high privilege and honor to be able to help Ramabai, 
to be able to help those little widows. Can you not hear 
the " inasmuch " of the Master as he speaks to you to-day, 
and tells you not to withdraw, but to keep on ? 

" Your Oriental men tell us," you say, "that there are no 
Hindu widows." Have you ever questioned as to why you 
have that told you ? Have you ever tried to investigate the 
matter, or do you take the words of passers-by, when com- 
pared with the words of those who know of what they 
speak ? Here is one who sits among you, who has been to 
India, who has touched those widows, seen for herself the 


marks of the pinches that have been given, seen the hurt 
limbs. Can you doubt her as she stands before you, and 
tells you that it is so ? I come from that country. Pitiful 
and sad are the tales that I could tell you, women of 
America. Have you children growing up ? What would 
you say if your little child of eight were to come to you 
bleeding and torn ? Would your heart not ache ? Would 
you not say, " Let me put my arms around you, and shield 
you from the blows and terrible words " ? And will you not 
do it now ? Every word that has been told you is a fact. 
There are thousands and thousands of these poor children 
who sutler ; and, as you were told, if there were ten thou- 
sand such Sharada Sadanas, it would not be one too many 
to rescue those who are suffering. In the hospital in Bom- 
bay where I was, children from eight to twelve would come 
up the steps, weak, bleeding, and torn, asking for refuge, — 
"Put us anywhere, take us away quickly: we are followed." 
By whom? A mother-in-law, a brother-in-law, somebody 
wanting to drag them back again to that terrible suffering. 
Will you not put forth your hand for them ? 

Ah, beloved, the opportunity may slip by ! She is with 
you now. See that cares do not break her down. She 
does not do this work for praise or notoriety : she has had 
little of this. She goes into the silent and high places to 
get wisdom from above to carry out her work. Do you love 
her ? Love her now. Do you feel that you have some one 
you can trust ? Trust her now. Will you do it when she 
has passed away ? God grant that she may live many years 
to come. Help her to live. "Feed my lambs," says the 
Christ. The lambs are ready. Let it be your privilege to 
feed them. And, believe me, no one can be found more 
fitted for the work than beautiful Ramabai. 

Standing one day near her, I heard an English gentleman 
paying her a compliment. She did not hear him at first ; 
and, thinking that he was saying something that was neces- 
sary for her to listen to, she listened again through her 


trumpet. He repeated the compliment ; but a pained look 
came upon her face, and she turned away, not deigning to 
answer or look at him again. I thought then, " No spot 
can touch Ramabai, nothing can hurt her ; for she has God 
by her side." I have seen her in joy and sorrow. I have 
seen her in trouble and in pain. Again and again has gone 
the same thought from my heart, and the same prayer, — 
" Lord, let me be more and more like that beautiful soul ! " 
For it is only when we live the life that we can influence 
those around us. Just as the odor goes from a rose all over 
the room, so the influence of a good woman is felt by those 
who are around her. I have heard Brahmans and Parsees, 
I have heard Mahometans and the lower class of Hindus, 
speak about Ramabai. I have been in the native courts, 
and there has the name of Ramabai been honored. So, 
beloved, you do well when you look upon her not only as 
a coworker, but a friend and a sister. And will you not 
join Avith me when I say in conclusion, God bless Ramabai ? 

Dr. Abbott. — I can assure Madame Cavalier, on your 
behalf, that we all thank her very much for these words 
which she has spoken to us of inspiration from across 
the sea. 

A Nominating Committee was then appointed to report 
a list of officers for the next year, consisting of Miss 
Martha D. Adams, Mrs. G. B. Barrows, and Mrs. T. B. 
Froth ingh am. 

Mrs. Andrews read letters from India and England. 


7 Norham Gardens, Oxford, Jan. 27, 1895. 

Dear Madam, — I am not allowed to write much just now, other- 
wise I should have a great deal to say about our friend Ramabai. 
What I feared when she became a Christian, has happened : she 
has impaired her power of doing useful work among her country- 
men. Her native friends do not quite trust her, her European 
friends do not always remember what they owe to her. I feel so 
convinced of Ramabai's loyalty that I cannot believe that she 
ever used her position for proselytizing purposes, after having 
promised she would not do so. But how can she help that in- 
direct and silent influence which told on herself while she was 
with the Sisters at Wantage, and made her crave for sympathy 
from those who had shown her so much kindness? In all essen- 
tials she had been a Christian even while she was still a 
Brahman; and, when she openly professed herself a Christian, 
it was because she felt the necessity of belonging to some com- 
munion, to be one with her friends. I can quite understand 
therefore that some of the poor child widows to whom she has 
been like a sister and a mother should feel a desire to be' what 
she is, should try to be as good to others as she has been to them. 
What has become of the toleration of which the Hindus used to 
be so proud, which, even in the days of the Upanishads, formed 
the glory of the true Bramanas ? What has become of the freedom 
of thought, if freedom to choose one's own religion is to be no 
longer allowed in India, the home of the Vedanta philosophy? 
If the Hindus are not afraid of the weapons of argument used by 
European missionaries, are they afraid of the power of goodness 
wielded by Ramabai and her friends ? I did not persuade Ra- 
mabai to become a Christian, because I knew she was a Christian 
in heart, which is far better than a Christian by profession. And 


I feel quite certain, if Ramabai can only make good women out of 
the poor widows whom she receives in her home, she will feel that 
she has done her duty. The work she does is the work of 
humanity, and not of any special religion. If the believers in 
Vishnu, Siva, and Krishna, if the knowers of Brahmas (brahma- 
vidas), are afraid of the power of goodness as wielded by a weak 
woman, they have thrown away their arms and given up the fight. 
I think better of them. I trust in their ancient spirit of tolera- 
tion, I trust in their chivalry ; and I hope that Ramabai's friends 
in India will stand by her with the same steadfastness as her 
faithful supporters in America and England. 

Yours sincerely, 

F. Max Muller. 

Poona, Jan. 25, 1895. 

My dear Madam, — It was my misfortune not to have been 
introduced to you when you had been in India during the last 
year. But, unacquainted though I am, you will kindly allow me 
to address to you the following few lines, since they convey to 
you my humble opinion about the noble work that Sharada Sadan 
is doing in the Deccan, on account of the ever-increasing zeal and 
untiring efforts of — you will allow me to say — your almost 
adopted daughter, Pandita Ramabai, who manages that institu- 

My wife has been a student in Sharada Sadan for more than 
a year and a half. You have seen her there, and possibly re- 
member her, too. She had been there before the late clouds 
that hung over that institution, and continues to be there 
till now ; but never during this period saw I or my wife any 
change in the conduct of the Pandita, or in her way of managing 
and conducting that school, — a change calculated to produce any 
dissatisfaction among the public. She is carrying on the work of 
managing the institution on the very same lines which she has 
once marked out for her ; and as long as such a magnanimous 
and kind-hearted lady as the Pandita is the head of that institu- 
tion, the well-wishers of this home for our unfortunate widows 
shall have no cause to fear lest anything would go wrong in its 


management, or that this Western charity would in any way be 

Our Ramabai — I am proud to call her ours — has quite satis- 
factorily shown to her native and Christian brethren here and in 
America that she is in every way fitted to the arduous task that 
she has undertaken by the fact of her having stood successfully 
the several trials through which she had to go since the foundation 
of Sharada Sadan. Some of us were afraid lest the late melan- 
choly event of the resignation of the Advisory Board would 
retard the rapid progress the Sadan was making; and our fears 
were not quite without a ground, since there was a great and sud- 
den fall in the number of students at that time. But I am ex- 
tremely glad to observe that the number is now every month 
increasing, and the people have again begun to appreciate the 
great boon which this Western charity has offered to their un- 
fortunate widows. . . . With kind regards, I remain, 

Yours ever sincerely, 

K. B. Maolanker. 

Poona, India, Jan. 25, 1895. 

My dear Mrs. Andrews, — . . . You will be glad to hear of the 
steady progress made in the Sharada Sadan. Pundita Ramabai 
continues to be the same tender, loving, watchful, and wise mother 
of the home. She is specially endowed by God for this peculiar 
position. It is evident to us all that God is with her, and his 
blessing attends all in her home. All the women with the little 
ones continue to make steady progress in their studies and vari- 
ous duties. The development of that true womanly modesty and 
confidence among the women which will fit them for a useful life 
among their people is most encouraging. Pundita Ramabai 
seeks to impart to them right ideas of woman's position and 
work, and she is succeeding. 

You will remember the good will and confidence expressed by 
several native gentlemen both of Poona and Bombay at the open- 
ing of the school-rooms in 1893, at which you did the institution 
the honor to preside. This confidence continues, and is growing. 


She enjoys the fullest confidence and sympathy of the European 
community of all classes, without exception. The Association at 
home, which is so generously providing the money to open and 
carry on this good work, may be assured that their efforts are 
bringing a great blessing to the women of India, and will cer- 
tainly return to them a rich reward. Believe me, 

Yours sincerely, 

D. O. Fox, 
Pastor Methodist Episcopal Church, Poona. 

All who have given the subject a thought must admit that the 
work so nobly initiated by Pundita Ramabai will in its subse- 
quent developments be one of the chief means of regenerating 

To the ordinary observer the years of missionary effort, the 
hecatombs of missionary lives, and the mints of money that have 
fallen to India's share have been productive of but small results. 
Today, however, proves the contrary true. Solid foundations 
have been laid for glorious structures, among which the Shar- 
ada Sadan is one of the chief. 

The child of to-day is the man of the future. The mother is 
the chief instructor of his budding intelligence. Hence all that 
tends to emancipate women from the thraldom of ignorance 
must prove for the highest and best interests of India. I have 
had frequent opportunities of visiting native homes and the 
Sharada Sadana, and the difference between the pictures of the 
widow in the one and in the other is marked and striking. Con- 
trast that shrinking figure with shaven pate and bowed and 
averted head, meanly clad, settled despair in her heart, her name 
the synonyme of everything vile, herself a curse in her Hindu 
home, with the bright, cheerful, and joyous aspect of the inmate of 
the Sharada Sadan, — buoyant with hope and life's fair prospect, 
— and say, "What have the Pundita and her helpers not done for 
the women of India? " Yet this is but an initiatory effort. The 
Sharada Sadana is in its budding state ; and may God, in his in- 
finite mercy and wisdom, shelter it from all storms, fan it with 

4 6 

genial breezes, and send the gracious showers it so sadly needs, 
that it may blossom and grow into a glorious fruition, — a bless- 
ing of great magnitude to India ! 

Verily, all concerned in this grand and blessed movement will 
have their reward. 

G. S. Hanson, M.D. 

It goes without saying that the heart of a nation is its home, 
and the centre of home is woman. If the women are ignorant, 
bigoted, superstitious, the nation is not better. 

However small, theoretically, the influence of women in India 
may be, practically it is immense. All the early and impression- 
able years of the coming man's life are passed in her society, and 
subject to her influence. As a river can rise no higher than its 
source, neither can the men of the future be other than their 
mothers have made them. 

The necessity of elevating the women in order to elevate the 
nation being admitted, the question remains, "How?" Every 
one has heard of the secluded lives of the Purdah women ; but 
there are hundreds of thousands of women who are to be seen in 
town and village of all castes, Brahmin as well as Shudra, as un- 
approachable by men as though surrounded by the walls of a 
zenana. After twenty-five years' experience as a lawyer and con- 
siderable familiarity with the people I believe it impossible for 
men to reach and teach the women of India. 

However, what man cannot do, woman can. To women the 
women of India offer an immense field of virgin soil for their 
sowing, and an abundant harvest for India's reaping not many 
days hence. What India needs is an army of women teachers. 
Of course, they must come from abroad first ; but supremely blest 
is that agency which, laying hold on the daughters of India, 
blesses them and makes them a blessing by qualifying them and 
inspiring them with the obligation of reaching and elevating, by 
precept and example, their sisters, dwelling under a shadow of 
great darkness. 

Now, in housing and teaching widows, as the Ramabai Asso- 
ciation does, not only are these individual girls elevated, but 


they become elevating influences which cannot but accomplish 
great good. No one can visit this delightful home and see the 
bright and happy faces, contrasting it with what they know 
must have been the lot of many of its inmates, but his heart must 
swell with gratitude to the good people of America who have 
made the institution possible. 

When I think that this work was devised by a Brahmin lady 
brought up with all the limitations of Indian society, I am 
amazed. True, all are not Ramabais; but, if this elect lady com- 
municates a hundredth part of her usefulness to her charges, she 
will, through God's grace, be instrumental in working a far reach- 
ing and ennobling work for India. 

Sydenham Smith. 
Poona, Jan. 30, 1895. 

The report of the Nominating Committee was presented, 
and was accepted. It was unanimously voted that the 
Secretary should cast one vote for the officers as nominated. 

Mrs. Andrews moved that the thanks of the Association 
to Dr. Hale for his five years' service as President be 
placed upon the records, and also its congratulations that, 
in losing Dr. Hale, it gains Dr. Abbott as President. 

The motion was unanimously adopted. 

The thanks of the Association were also voted to Madame 
Cavalier for her interesting address. 

On motion the Association then adjourned.